On Sept. 4 Declan McKenna released a new album titled “Zeros.” It was a pleasant surprise to see this artist pop up on the Release Radar playlist on Spotify after his previous album three years ago. McKenna is back and better than ever with this new release and stays strong throughout the entire album.
The album starts off on a high note with the song “You Better Believe!!!” which is reminiscent of indie and alternative songs from the early 2000s. At five minutes, the song keeps the listener engaged from start to finish through the use of a strong melody and great rock feel. Before even listening to the lyrics, it is apparent this is a feel-good song. The lyrics emphasize that if anyone is feeling like they are not good enough, they should think of what his father always used to tell him: “You’ll be just fine.” Definitely listen to this one in the car with the windows down, especially in this beautiful weather we have been having recently.
The album continues with the song “Beautiful Faces,” which again reminds me of bands such as Cage the Elephant and Arctic Monkeys. This song is as strong as “You Better Believe!!!,” if for different reasons. McKenna’s unique voice can be heard more prominently in this song, making it unique and personal to him. The lyrics go a little deeper than the last song as well, emphasizing what it is like for youth during this day and age. With social media, everyone feels the need to be doing the most because people are posting their best selves on online platforms and making others feel as though they are not doing enough. Being young is scary and this song portrays that idea well.
One song on this album that was a favorite was “Rapture.” It is about fears of the future manifesting as relentless thoughts. The song feels sort of nostalgic around one minute in, giving Alex Turner vibes, but then turning into this increasingly intense combination of vocals and instrumentals until eventually McKenna is screaming. Even with the screaming, the song still manages to be tasteful and catchy in a way that can appeal to a wide audience. Many people can relate to this song in different ways during this time, as they struggle with their own variations of what scares them about the future. In isolation, many are also stuck in their heads and can feel the insanity creeping in and manifesting into something bigger.
Overall, this album is definitely McKenna’s strongest and is a must-listen this year. Almost the entire album will transport the listener back to the early 2000s, and nothing is more comforting than listening to songs that bring on a feeling of nostalgia of the old days. Give the album a listen — it’s a good one.